Child Support in Wake County
Child support is one of the most contentious aspects of family law. Both parents have a legal obligation to support their children, but they often don’t agree on an amount. The legislature has promulgated a formula to calculate child support according to commonly used guidelines. However, each case is different, and judges can deviate to award less or more in certain circumstances. That’s why it’s so important to have a child support lawyer in your corner.
When you schedule a consultation with McKnight Law, we will evaluate your case and then create a strategy to ensure that child support payments are fair. Contact us today to learn more about your legal options.
Factors to Determine Child Support
The North Carolina court evaluates numerous factors when determining child support. These factors include:
- The physical custody schedule
Income of both parents
- Daycare costs
- Cost of insurance
- Special needs of the child
These are just some of the factors the court considers. Your child support lawyer will go over each factor in detail.
Calculating Child Support
North Carolina’s child support formula considers numerous factors. However, the parent’s income, custody arrangement, and the number of children requiring support are the biggest considerations. And of course, if you are your child’s primary caregiver, you’ll receive more money for child support than would be the case if you split physical custody.
However, it’s not unusual for the court to stray from the formula under certain circumstances. For instance, if one of the parties is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, the court will take that into consideration and might adjust the support order. Alternatively, if one or both parents have high incomes or extensive assets, the court would be justified in deviating from the guidelines to address the actual needs of a child of those parents.
Because this is so complicated, it’s important to hire a child support lawyer. Your attorney can provide evidence to show that you and your child need a specific amount of support each month.
Adjusting Child Support Payments
If you currently have a child support order, you might be able to modify it as long as certain conditions are met. Normally, three years must have elapsed since the current order was put in place or was last modified. Second, circumstances affecting the minor child must have changed.
If a change in circumstances means you’re eligible for more in support, you can petition the court to modify the order. Also, you might be eligible for a modification if your child needs additional care or if the custody arrangement or order has changed. In addition, you might be able to modify the order if the child no longer requires as much support or if you lost your job.
When Can’t You Request A Modification?
While many changes in circumstances allow you to request a child support modification, that isn’t always the case. You cannot modify the child support agreement as part of a chapter 11 bankruptcy petition. Also, if your financial responsibility has increased for one of your children that isn’t part of the support obligation, you typically cannot modify child support. A modification is likewise not available to someone obligated to pay support who has voluntarily reduced his or her income.
What If The Parent Doesn’t Pay Child Support?
Unfortunately, some parents attempt to avoid paying child support. If your child’s other parent fails to pay, he or she will be in contempt of court. A judge has the authority to temporarily jail a non-complying parent to enforce payment. Other options available to the court may include intercepting tax returns or garnishing wages to pay the back child support. Also, the parent might lose his or her driver’s license and professional license, along with being assessed fines and other penalties.